In people with osteoporosis, falls often result in fractures. Reducing the risk of falls is possible and it is one of the many lifestyle measures that can make a big positive difference in maintaining bone health, independence and quality of life.
Fall risk factors include any hazards in the home, such as slippery floors or objects that can cause you to trip, low lighting, unstable furniture or lack of handrails in bathrooms or along stairways.
Other factors, such as poor balance, muscle weakness, poor vision or use of medications that can cause dizziness, can also increase the risk of falling. Some of these factors can be avoided, and it important to do so!
Six steps to preventing falls
2. Do regular, suitable weight-bearing and muscle strengthening exercises, alongside exercises to improve balance.
3. Keep your glasses clean and in good repair, being careful on stairs if wearing bifocals, and wear sunglasses on bright days to reduce glare.
4. Wearing comfortable shoes with good support, a broad heel and non-slip soles.
5. Maintain a nutritious and protein-rich diet, and don’t skip meals if you feel dizzy as a result.
6. Talk to your doctor about any previous falls, if you feel dizzy and ask about your medications. Prescription medications can contribute to falling, particularly if you take three or more.
Fall-proofing your home
Remove objects you could trip over, such as throw rugs, electrical cords and clutter. Ensure mats are firmly affixed and repair loose carpet or raised areas on the floor. Move furniture out of walking paths and be aware of raised doorways.
Install handrails and non-skid mats in the toilet, bath or shower.
Keep your apartment or house well lit, especially hallways, stairways, porches and outside walkways. Add extra light switches or use remote switches such as motion sensors.
Use non-skid floor wax and wipe up spills immediately. Keep regularly used kitchen items at an easy-to-reach level.
Check handrails are sturdy and secure.
Studies have shown external hip protectors (hard-plastic shells designed to absorb the impact of a fall) can decrease hip fractures in people - if they are worn at the time of the fall. However, they can only be effective if worn, and many seniors find them impractical to wear.